My Particular Friend footnotes: The Bride Who Wasn’t There 1

Mr Simms nodded at this. ‘Yes, this morning. We were to be married at the register office. I had arranged for a chair to take her to the register office while I followed … on foot … I am not a wealthy man, Miss House.’ He looked at her enquiringly and she said softly, ‘Please continue. Where did you engage the chairmen?’

register office: where births and deaths are recorded

Encouraged by this he continued his story. ‘From their station on Northgate Street. I directed them to Barton Buildings where Mrs Brown resides at her boarding house. We left there at ten o’clock, only I was forced to return to my residence on Miles’s Buildings as I had left the ring I was to give to my beloved. After I retrieved it, I made my way but was further delayed by an altercation on the street. A young boy apparently had picked a man’s pocket and was running away from the man and his friends. The boy knocked me down in his flight and I was further trampled by his pursuers.’
‘Oh, on George Street, just a short distance from my lodgings.’

‘I had progressed down Milsom Street, almost to Quiet Street, when I thought to ensure I still carried Violet’s ring—I felt quite a fool for having forgotten it earlier. That is when I discovered it still safe, but found my purse missing. I returned to where I had been knocked down but could not find it, and then it occurred to me that it had been stolen. I followed in the direction the men had fled but I saw no sign of them.’

‘I don’t know what your friend … Miss House … how is she involved in this? This is a matter for … well I’m not sure who …’

Mr. Wallace’s confusion is understandable. In the early 1800s, there was no established police force in Bath, only unpaid watchmen and parish constables, and thus no one to whom Mr. Simms could turn. By 1835, however, Bristol and Bath did have established police forces.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: